Riverwalk First Fridays debuts June 5th

By Vail Jazz

The Riverwalk at Edwards is home to a new four-part concert series in summer 2015 – Riverwalk First Fridays. Held in Edwards’ delightfully scenic new gathering place for community functions and entertainment – the Riverwalk Backyard Amphitheatre – First Fridays will bring together local merchants and jazz greats from the Front Range for 4 iterations of what is sure to be a charming assembly of great music, local beer, wine, food and vendors.

Nestled on the banks of the Eagle River and flanked by Riverwalk’s shopping and dining options, Riverwalk First Fridays promises to deliver a casual, affordable experience on the first Fridays of June, July, August and September.

Executive Director Robin Litt on TV8

The series is sponsored by Alpine Bank, a longtime supporter of music and culture in the Vail Valley, and is produced by Vail Jazz and KZYR 97.7 The Zephyr. A free concert series that features kids activities and a weekly vendor theme, First Fridays presents a wonderful new multi-generational, family oriented entertainment option for mid-valley residents and visitors. And for the shopper looking to explore what Riverwalk has to offer, each week will feature a theme, where special promotions and activities will be built around two to three Riverwalk businesses. The themes consists of 4 summery variations on beauty, activities and family fun: June 5th – “Ultimate Camp Out,” July 3rd – “All American Kids,” August 7th – “Something Fishy,” and September 4th – Mountain Makeovers.”

Gates open at 4:30pm for vendor, food and beverage sales and performances will take place from 5:30-7:30pm. The party continues into the night on July 3rd and August 7th at Main Street Grill for an “Official After-Party,” complete with more live music.

The series will commence on June 5th with the salsa and Latin jazz group Ritmo Jazz Latino, one of Denver’s finest Latin bands. The band’s exotic blend of salsa, afro-cuban, and Latin jazz influences have collectively translated into the band’s stunning reputation on the Front Range music scene. Trumpeter Dr. Walter Barr leads the group, a well-known educator and clinician based out of The Metropolitan State University of Denver.

July 3 welcomes the upbeat blues and boogie-woogie songcraft of Lionel Young, a popular bluesman from the Denver area. Young’s All-American blues fiddlin’ will kick off the holiday weekend celebration with a style that hails from Mississipi and Kansas City. With violin virtuosity that has impressed the likes of Count Basie, Stevie Wonder, Jimmy Paige/Robert Plant, and Doc Severenson, Lionel Young and his 4-piece band will get the crowd stomping into the holiday evening with a little extra soul in each step.

Otone Brass Band, an eight piece group comprised of seasoned pros of the Front Range, will bring a funky New Orleans flavor of street music to First Fridays on August 7th. Complete with trumpets, saxes, trombones and even a sousaphone, the occasion is a recipe for a funky dance party.

The series rounds out on September 4th with Brothers Keeper – the hometown boys. You can regularly find these blues rock veterans holding down the late night set at Shakedown Bar in Vail Village. With national tours and regular appearances alongside John Popper and Hall and Oates under their belts, the men of Brothers Keeper are an exceptional Blues Rock and American roots band that will bring a fervent close to Riverwalk First Fridays’ first year in town.

“The goal from the beginning with Riverwalk First Fridays was to utilize this ideal new music venue, and to give Edwards families a great reason to get together and enjoy incredible music, beer, wine, food and good company,” said Vail Jazz Development Manager Owen Hutchinson. “This series is well on its way to becoming just that.”

In addition to Alpine Bank, sponsorship for the new series comes from the Riverwalk Association, Gateway Real Estate, 1st and Main, Alpine Insurance, Bonfire Brewing, Vail Board of Realtors, Bloch & Chapleau, and Riverwalk Wine & Spirits. Vendor space is available with discounts for Riverwalk businesses. Businesses can sign on for one event or for all four at a discount. Vendors already confirmed include all sponsors listed above, plus Merle Norman Cosmetics, Kids Cottage, Sugar Bar, Rocky Mountain Silver and Beads, Old Forge Pizza, Vintage Magnolia, Bishop Orthodontics and more.